- Todd Heisler c/o The New York Times
- Bill De Blasio with his children Dante and Chiara
Every four years, New Yorkers get a chance to have their voices heard in an election. And, no, I'm not talking about presidential elections. We all know that New York is as blue as a state could possibly be, and so the chances of one vote making much of a difference in a national, or even a statewide race are slim. And, in fact, I'm not even talking about the actual mayoral election, because the last really close race hasn't even been since 2001, and even then the odds that one or two or three hundred votes would sway the outcome were not very good. That's why primary elections for local races are so important in New York City. This year more than any in recent memory, voters had a chance to make a real difference and have their voices heard. Entrenched, corrupt politicians like Charles Hynes were vulnerable in ways that they never had been before. Disgraced, former politicians like Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, and Vito Lopez were hellbent on regaining office and voters had the opportunity to let them know that their type of politics had not been missed at all. And city Democrats could finally vote in a primary with some confidence that their candidate will have an excellent chance of being the next mayor of New York. It was all so exciting! But would big changes really happen at the polls? Yes! They would! Lots of great, big things happened last night, and in case you missed it, I've got a thorough recap for you right here.
The Republicans Had a Primary Too
Now, sure, when I went to vote, the guy showing me how to use the machine (which, RIP Soviet-era lever voting machines...I remember helping my mom pull the big red handle when she voted for Dinkins) asked almost as an afterthought, "You're a Democrat, right?" before smiling and saying, "Seems like everyone is today." But, in fact, there are some New York City Republicans (many, MANY of whom live in Bay Ridge) and they voted in the primaries too. And they voted for the much more sane candidate, so good for New York Republicans! And so long Catsimitidis. You made for good headlines, and you look like a Dick Tracy villain, but you're guilty of electioneering
and are a pretty awful person.
The Race for Brooklyn District Attorney
I was pretty invested in this race, because there isn't another local politician that I dislike more than Charles Hynes.
The man protected pedophiles in order to gain votes. Disgusting. But this race was also an important indication of whether or not voters would come out in support of a new candidate and be able to overthrow an entrenched one. Hynes had served for over 20 years! That's a long time. But he's been unseated and this was just one of the races that allowed us all to feel pretty good about ourselves. Change has come.
Vito Lopez, Please Disappear Forever
Another despicable Brooklyn politician who was slapped down in his election bid was Vito Lopez. Antonio Reynoso handily beat Vito Lopez in this race for city council. This defeat was incredibly sweet for everyone, but perhaps for no one more than Lincoln Restler, who has fought against Lopez and been the target of Lopez's ire and dirty politics. Beyond being happy that Lopez is gone, we're excited to see more great things coming from Restler in the future.
Now You Never Need to Think About How to Pronounce Comptroller Again
It was not a good night to be a disgraced former politician. When Eliot Spitzer entered the race for this low-profile office, he jumped into what seemed like an insurmountable lead. There were even points last night when it seemed like a run-off might be necessary to determine the winner. But Scott Stringer ended up winning decisively, and Spitzer conceded defeat somewhat early on, perhaps exiting New York politics forever. Well, perhaps not. But we can dream, can't we?
You Didn't Win Sal, But We're Still Happy You Ran!
A quick shout out to Bay Ridge candidate Sal Albanese. A true progressive, Albanese never had a shot this year, but he never gave up and it looks like he had a nice little party going on at the Owl's Head in Bay Ridge. Thanks for running, Sal! You're one of the good guys.
Christine Quinn Did Not Have a Good Night
Quinn was once assumed to be a sure thing. Well, it looks like nothing in life is ever sure, because she lost in a big, embarrassing way. But she did inspire a lot of good tweets last night. So if she needs to feel proud of something, she can feel proud of that. Kidding. No one should ever feel proud of something like that.
Anthony Weiner, We Won't Miss You One Bit, Fuck You For Running In the First Place, Now Disappear
Weiner had a truly pathetic night, from start to finish. He got less than 5% of the vote, was being stalked by his ex online-paramour, Sydney Leathers, and had to end the night by escaping through a McDonald's and into a cab so that the press wouldn't get a photo of him with Ms. Leathers. It was almost enough to make you feel sorry for the guy, except, of course, for the fact that he's a dickweed and gave reporters the finger once he got in the cab. Goodbye, Anthony Weiner. We never want to hear from you again.
Bill De Blasio! In Gowanus! Dancing!
And so we have a winner in the Democratic Primary for mayor of New York City! Now, before we all get too excited, De Blasio is hovering at just around 40% of the vote, and all votes are not in, so a run-off against William Thompson might end up happening. Then again, it might not. Too soon to tell. But! For just last night anyway, the mood was euphoric at the Bell House in Gowanus, which was where the De Blasio camp was stationed. And it's always good to partake in this kind of politcal euphoria while it's there, because usually, it's all too brief and soon again it will be politics as usual.
Who Knew New York City Politics Could Feel So Good?
I didn't really know that anymore! But last night was fun. The bad guys lost. The less bad guys (you could even call them good guys!) won. And New York is still the same absurd place it's always been. What's not to love?
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen